By William Blake

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art.
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Hope is the Thing with Feathers
By Emily Dickinson.

HOPE is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I ’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

The Sound and Rhythm of Blake and Dickinson

By Wan Nor Azriq Wan Mokhtar.

POEMS are like music, we tend to remember the beat of sounds and flow of rhythm. It is this music quality that makes poem interesting to hear. A poet will create different music in order to deliver his/her message. William Blake and Emily Dickinson are two different poet with different composition of music, which we will find in The Tyger and Hope is the Thing with Feathers.

William Blake was born in 1757 in London. Blake earned his living illustrating books, among them Dante’s Divine Comedy. He also did illustration for his own collection of poems. The Tyger was one of his poem in the book Songs of Innocence.

In The Tyger, Blake questioned God creation of evil. The tiger symbolize the beauty of nature, and at the same time a force of evil as it is suggested in the first stanza. The alliteration of‘t,’ ‘h,’ ‘r,’ and combining with assonance of ‘i,’ and ‘e’ creates a frightening sound that seems to vibrate in our heart. Blake’s rhetorical questions continue to the last stanza with a repetitive beat sound suggesting the evil beating instruments that created the tiger.

The Tyger is made of six quatrains in rhymed couplets. Blake uses trochaic tetrameter with the unstressed syllable dropped at the end of a line which creates a high-beat note. For example, the unstressed syllable after the last word of line one and two (“bright,” “night”) was dropped to give more emphasis on these words.

Emily Dickinson, born in 1830, spent virtually all her life in her family home in Massachusetts. She made her poem, alone, in her room. Dickinson never married, but she had a significant romantic relationship with an unknown man. She had written 1,775 poems, but published only seven in her lifetime.

Like Blake, Emily Dickinson also made a lyrical poem. Dickinson’s rhyme scheme, however, is irregular compared to Blake who used a simple rhyme scheme. The first and second stanza has an ABCB rhyme scheme, while the third stanza rhyme scheme is ABBB. Dickinson method of rhyming is not precise and sounds strange when put together (for example the rhyming of “soul” and “all”). A more accurate rhyming method can be found in The Tyger (for example the rhyming of “art” and “heart”).

The poem Hope is the Thing with Feathers is about the idea of keeping hope when confronting the hardship of life. Dickinson uses a bird feathers as a metaphor to explain her idea of hope. By expending her metaphor to the sea and combining it with iambic water-like rhythm (especially in the third stanza with the alliteration of ‘l’, and‘s’), Dickinson has manage to convey the importance of hope which always remain strong despite facing “the strongest sea.”

Perhaps it is unfair to compare these two poems together, as Blake wrote The Tyger at a much more matured stage compared to Dickinson. Nevertheless, the above discussion has at least shown us how sound and rhythm can contribute to the overall meaning of a poem.


saat omar said…
sajak Tyger oleh William Blake tu Yasmin Ahmad pernah post kat blog dia beberapa tahun lepas...dia pun terpesona dengan sajak tu
Wan Nor Azriq said…
Terima kasih abang saat kerana berikan komen.Saya pun terpesona dengan sajak ini.
Josette said…

I like the poem Hope is the Thing With Feathers. Hope is definitely something we need to have when everything else fails.
Wan Nor Azriq said…
Thanks josette for visiting my blog.I like it too;hope is very important in life.

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